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Student career aspirations and perceptions: The case of Israeli accounting students

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The study investigates changes in Israeli accounting students' career aspirations during their course of studies, and the relationship between these and their perceptions of professional accountancy firms. We employed a cross-sectional analysis of students across consecutive educational levels from the first year to the end of their formal education. We assumed that revealed differences between the accounting student cohorts, in terms of their perceptions of professional accountancy firms and their career aspirations, could be interpreted as reflecting changes over time in students' attitudes. Results from the sample show that accounting student' aspirations to pursue a career with a professional accountancy firm decline significantly between the first and postgraduate years, while their desire to work in the business sector increases. The results show the same trend with regard to the student's positive perceptions of the above firms as future workplaces. Non-parametric tests demonstrate significant relationships between students' career aspirations and their perceptions of professional accountancy firms. We suggest that the change in students' perceptions and aspirations is a symptom of something similar to a ‘reality shock', and that it results from the students' exposure to the accounting profession. Professional accountancy firms need to implement innovative policies to meet the challenge.

Keywords: Accounting education; career aspirations; perceptions; reality shock; students

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Academic Studies, The College of Management, Israel

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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